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Eileen Fisher Chop Challenge

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

The two pieces above are currently at a group exhibition at the Columbia City Gallery in Seattle, WA, from now through December 31st, 2022. See for gallery hours.

I found out about this exhibition earlier in the fall through Seattle Recycled Arts who helped coordinate entries, jurying process etc. We were invited to pick out clothing pieces from the nearby Eileen Fisher Renew shop that were too damaged to sell. When I got there, there were several large containers full of clothing items to pick from. I largely chose blue, gray and white cotton and linen pieces to work with, with itty bitty stripes, crosshatch motifs and puckers for added interest.

For the piece on the left I knew I wanted to experiment with some quilting and the traditional log cabin quilt block is a familiar motif in my work already. I took inspiration from this idea but changed some of the key features/rules that quilters usually follow. I did not follow a consistent seam allowance and I did not measure my pieces, they are cut with scissors in a free-form measure with no quilters ruler as a guide, nor a rotary cutter. I enjoy working with the fabric strips of varying width in this way and you can radically alter the way the quilt block looks by randomly increasing and decreasing the width. Two more adaptations were made in my final piece, I offset the quilt block and stretched it over a circular canvas. I love how the blue sections occupy less than half of the piece and I've titled this piece "Into the Blue."

The piece on the right was predominantly made with the seams from the clothing that I picked up at Eileen Fisher. If you haven't given much thought to clothing seams before, picture two long skinny layers of fabric densely stitched together for durability. I separated the seams from the rest of the clothing (to maximize the square inches I could garner from each clothing piece) and realized that I could treat these seams like cord. I played around with a few different iterations with arranging the seams/cords, but landed on this arrangement which to me looks very much like a topographical map. Each seam is carefully secured to the backing fabric with a couching stitch which embroidery fans will be familiar with. The bright white components of this piece are macrame cord and serve as a firm base for the seams to coil around. This was a departure from my typical work and it was enjoyable from start to finish. I've titled this piece "The Lay of the Land."

I am looking forward to seeing the entire exhibit this evening and seeing the work of the other artists. I also have a pile of beautiful remnants leftover from my work and am dreaming of patchwork pillows, bags and additional 2-D work that will utilize the rest of these amazing scraps.

Edit: This exhibit was briefly featured in the Seattle Times in November 2022. You can read about it here:

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